Alex Massie

Department of Consultation

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I don't mean to pick on Tom Harris. After all, I think it a very good thing that MPs should have their own blogs. And, as it happens, I have no firm opinion either way on the desirability or not of a third runway at Heathrow airport. But I thought this a telling part of Mr Harris's latest post on the matter:

I’M DISAPPOINTED by the announcement that we’ll have to wait until next year to get a decision on a third runway at Heathrow.

But I concede that 70,000 submissions to the consultation will have to be considered and that might take a little while. And given that a judicial review - whatever the decision - is inevitable, consideration must be seen to be thorough.

Now I concede that this may be an honest slip and that Mr Harris genuinely wants there to be a proper consideration of the merits of the issue. Nonetheless, given this government's previous form on "consultations" (eg, the hunting and smoking bans) I can't avoid the unkind, perhaps even unworthy, suspicion that it's more important for consideration and consulatation to "be seen to be thorough" than for it actually to be, you know, thorough...

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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